First, the facts:
Title: Inspired Cable Knits: 20 Creative Designs for Making Sweaters and Accessories
Author: Fiona Ellis
Published by: Potter Craft, 2006
Pages: 144 pages
1. Inspired by Change
2. Inspired by Nature
3. Inspired by Energy
4. Inspired by Time
Pattern Size Range: Small, Medium, Large, XL, 2XL
The In-Depth Look:
The title of this book is “Inspired Cable Knits,” and they are.
Mostly all sweater patterns, but with some accessories as well, this book takes a fun look at new ways to use cables.
She says that, “Most traditional cable patterns place the cables vertically, with the repetition of rows continuing until you reach the neckline, where you simply bind off and then start the same thing all over again for the next piece … But what if we escape from the repetition? The power of change is remarkable. The excitement of new things–a new home, friend, or even a piece of music–affects us deeply. I created the following designs to illustrate my fascination with transformation and to offer knitters new possibilities in cable knitting.”
It’s certainly true that she has a knack for them–and clearly has great fun putting them together, twisting them around. Like, the Gathering Intentions sweater–it looks like a standard, funnel-neck cabled pullover, but comes with I-cord ties at the wrists and the waistline … just to be a little different. Putting Down Roots, the cover sweater, has a nice, all-over, braided cable pattern … but comes with a knitted, cabled “ruffle” around the neck and wrists, for just that extra little fillip of something fun. I love the Knots and Bark sweater, too–two yarns, two textures, and with a little extra used for contrast at the neck and for embroidery across the front.
She has an orange sweater inspired by electric power cords. A nice, fitted sweater with color/texture blocks and a band of fair isle across the front. A beautiful, cabled, hooded sweater (that I personally knit almost the minute I got this book). There are also scarves, and a bag for your yoga mat. A lovely pillow based on rippled sand along the beach. A colorful children’s sweater. Nice cables for the man in your life.
There are also some missteps. I know some purists had issues with things like that I-cord tie that I liked–though I feel that that falls within the realm of “creativity” and, anyway, it could easily be left off if a knitter so chose. The gold and red color choices in the Metro Retro sweater however, are … unfortunate. I love the colors together (in fact, that pretty much describes the color theme to my bedroom), but I don’t think it works in this sweater at all–but knit all in one color, it would be fine. I think the Open to Change sweater is just “okay,” and worry about the way the model is leaning.
Because that IS one big issue with this book. The pictures are beautiful, but they’re so “artistic,” it’s hard to see the actual shape of the sweaters. The man’s pullover, Potential Energy looks like it’s a great pattern, but the photo has the model jumping in mid-air, so it’s kind of hard to see. (And makes the model look less than attractive, too.) There are models reclining, leaning, and twisting throughout the book, which is a danger signal for me. Are they leaning back in the chair because that’s what the photographer imagined for the shot, or is it because the sweater hangs so badly, it was the only way to make it look good?
There ARE schematics for each pattern, but they’re tiny–the imaged sweater pieces are only about an inch wide, so reading them can be a strain. The cable charts, though, are large and easy to read–although they are in green ink, so not as high a contrast as I’d really prefer. (Though they photocopy well, as I found out when I copied Celtic Icon so that I would have a reference sheet I could scribble on.)
For formatting? All the patterns are listed in the Table of Contents and in the Index (phew!), and there’s also a handy “Index of Projects and Yarns” at the back that lists the yarns each pattern calls for, which is such a convenient reference. The instruction pages at the beginning of the book are nice and clear, and the scattered tips, notes, and asides throughout the book are pleasant additions to the patterns–as are the notes about what inspired each pattern in the first place.
Overall? Lovely book. It takes basic cables and takes them where traditional Arans won’t go–but it still respects where cables come from. I like that–fresh, without cavalierly tossing aside centuries of tradition.
It’s selling for $23.10 over at Amazon.